A key to the success of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources for over a century has been its research-extension continuum.
UC ANR is composed of the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE). The AES is not a place, it's the collective faculty members who are federally funded through the Hatch Act of 1887 and based at UC's AES-designated campuses in Berkeley, Davis and Riverside. UCCE specialists and advisors are federally funded through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 and located on campuses and throughout the state.
Linda Forbes, Strategic Communications director, has been collecting examples of successful outcomes resulting from collaborations among AES and UCCE academics and sharing them in an email campaign to encourage further networking and partnerships.
In general, AES academics do most of their research on campus, UCCE specialists conduct more research in the field and UCCE advisors work directly with Californians to apply knowledge developed from AES research. In a simplified explanation of the research-extension continuum, UCCE advisors bring problems they see in the field to the attention of UCCE specialists and AES academics, who try to solve the problems, then recommend solutions for advisors to apply in the field. In effect, UCCE advisors and specialists bridge communication between campuses and communities.
Unlike in most other states, UCCE advisors also do their own field research, often collaborating with farmers and other community members.
Numerous successful collaborations take place across this network and the entire UC system to bring research-based solutions to local communities. See some examples at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Collaborations. Suggest other examples by emailing Forbes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the UC ANR directory to find AES and UC ANR experts working in your fields of interest.
UC Cooperative Extension specialists based at UC Davis and UC Riverside can now identify themselves as a “Professor of Cooperative Extension” as well as UCCE specialist. Adoption of the new working title is underway at UC Berkeley.
“Note this is not a title change,” said Selina Wang, co-chair of the UC Davis Specialist Advisory Committee, who explained the working title Professor of Cooperative Extension is more familiar to people outside of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“The addition of a working title for CE Specialists has many positive impacts as it aligns with our role of someone who professes their skills and instructs others,” Wang said. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic and widespread support from the leaderships, committees and individuals at UC Davis. We also thank those who have paved the way for realizing this vision – the title of Emeritus Professor of Cooperative Extension applies to CE Specialists who are currently approved for emeritus status.”
In documents submitted to the Academic Senate at UC Davis by Wang and Vikram Koundinya, her co-chair on the UC Davis Specialist Advisory Committee, they state, “The title ‘Specialist in Cooperative Extension' or ‘Cooperative Extension Specialist' is not universally recognized or commonly used outside of the land-grant system in California or internationally, while the title ‘Professor' has widespread recognition. Similar to those in the professorial series, Specialists in CE have been integrated into the research, graduate education, service, and outreach missions of the departments, though teaching of regular undergraduate or graduate courses is not a required responsibility. In every state except California and Mississippi, individuals holding the title Specialist in CE can also hold the title Professor.”
UCCE specialists at UC Riverside were informed in June 2020 of their new working title, which was shepherded through the process by UCR Professor Tim Paine, when he was divisional dean for the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.
“We are, and always have been faculty, but not senate faculty. This is the main difference between University of California CE Specialists and the rest of the United States,” said Peggy Mauk, director of UCR Agricultural Operations and UCCE specialist.
Mary Lu Arpaia, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Riverside, is pleased the UCR Academic Senate approved the title.
“I think it is a critical first step for putting extension specialists on equal footing with tenured faculty,” Arpaia said. “In many other land-grant universities in the U.S., extension specialists are considered full faculty and gain true tenure. This is what we should strive for within the UC system. Kudos for our administrative staff at UCR for making this first step and being the first in the UC system to recognize extension specialists. Hopefully the next steps occur within the UC system in a timely manner.”
UCCE specialists located at UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara, which are not part of the Agricultural Experiment Station, are based in UC ANR, and will have to wait to use the professor title. For campus-based specialists, the title must be approved by the local academic senate. Because UC ANR doesn't have an academic senate, they will have to find a different administrative path, according to Wendy Powers, associate vice president.
“It would be great if everyone can use the same title; the CE Specialist title was already too confusing for folks and it would not help if we start using two different titles,” said Safeeq Khan, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Merced.
Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.
To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.
Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.
“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said.
“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”
The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.
“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.
The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.”
The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at https://joe.org/joe/2020october/a2.php.
“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.
In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.”
On Aug. 1, phase 2 of the Cooperative Extension Positions Call process ended and phase 3 began. During phase 2, the Program Teams reviewed the 40 phase 1 proposals and submitted six additional proposals. All submitted proposals are posted on the 2018 Call for Position web page: http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.
- The statewide programs and institutes are now reviewing all 46 proposed positions to determine if there are any positions they feel are of higher priority.
- If so, they can propose up to two additional CE advisor positions and two additional CE specialist positions by Sept. 15 – keeping in mind that the more proposals there are at the end, the lower the probability of being approved for recruitment.
- The proposals that did not make the phase 1 final 40 can be picked up during these subsequent phases. They can be found on the proposal ideas web page. New proposals are not limited to these ideas.
After Sept. 15, Program Council will review all the feedback and make recommendations to the vice president.
“We thank the ANR network for actively engaging in this participatory process to strengthen and rebuild CE positions statewide,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president.
The 2016 Call for CE Positions was released January 12, 2016. The position-proposal submittal phase is scheduled to close May 5 at 5 pm. In some earlier materials, the deadline was indicated to be May 2; however, we are now confirming that the deadline is May 5.The position development phase has been open for the past several months, designed to allow as much time as possible for internal consultation and discussions with ANR stakeholders in all program areas.
The program area/unit review phase is May 5 - August 1, 2016. During this time, the Programs Teams, the ANR-affiliated colleges and professional school, and the regional groups of County/Multi-county Directors and Research and Extension Center Directors will conduct reviews, by doing the following for the proposals under their purview: 1) rate (high, medium, “this can wait”); 2) prioritize their highly rated positions (up to 5); and 3) provide concise rationale.
The approved submitters are the Program Team Leaders, the Executive Associate Deans, and the one person from each of the regional groups. These submitters will be provided a reviewer orientation in early May, and the presentation will be posted on the position call webpage afterwards. The public comment period remains open until July 11, 2016.
Submitted CE position proposals can be viewed on thecall web page http://ucanr.edu/2016callforpositions. Click the proposal title link to see the description. In addition, the full call, including the updated position proposal template as well as the process flowchart timeline and criteria documents are posted as well.
Filling critical academic positions remains a top priority for ANR. Over the past several years, more than 90 CE advisors and CE specialists have been hired, and there are 45 more recruitments approved. New 2016 position proposals should identify additional crucial positions.
Associate Vice President